Sunday, November 18, 2012

Zoo News Digest 4th - 18th November 2012 (Zoo News 837)

Zoo News Digest 4th - 18th November 2012 (Zoo News 837)



Dear Colleagues,

It has been a difficult couple of weeks. My internet connection shut itself down. I had limited or no access for nine days. I could not puzzle out why. Tried every which way without any luck spoke to endless people working for my internet provider before the problem was solved. Cost me more than I anticipated or than I could or can really afford. So much has gone on in the meantime in the zoo world. So much to comment on. Some I have via the Zoo News Digest Facebook Group. The rest? Well I would be at it for the next two days so I reckon I will leave most for now (a load of email to answer as well), and get this edition out.... however

I feel that my friend and Colleague John Dinely's comment in the Zoo News Digest Facebook Page!/pages/ZooNews-Digest/41410063216 is well worth repeating here for those who may have missed it. This following my posting of the link SeaWorld’s Sister Company Fights Whale and Dolphin Captivity
So what are your thoughts? You can either comment here or on the Facebook Page:

Written by David Kirby who wrote "Death At Sea World". Hardly a objective view of the situation.
DiGiaocchino is hypercritic. How many of their animals on display at his centres are captive breed? Very few. And as for marine species most are wild caught. Unlike bottlenose dolphins where the majority in both the USA and mainland Europe are from captive breeding programmes.
So Sealife are planning to get into bed with the animal-rights groups WDCS and HSUS and build a "dolphin sanctuary". Good luck with that as it all went a bit wrong for Brighton Sealife when they tried to curry favour with the animal-right groups and gave them the last two dolphins at Brighton Aquarium. Some years later Sealife tried to build a seal and otter exhibit at Brighton and were stopped by the very same groups they thought they “buy off”.
Their new Sealife in Machester has already been a target by the animal rights group CAPS.
Sealife are owned by Blackstone – just watch what happens when they get sold off to another company which will happen. Let see how “ethical” they are when the gate takes start to fall as people don’t want to see a few fish in tanks.

Before I go... think about these following two statements:

"This means that the rationale for maintaining collections of wild animals – always, preferably, in wildlife parks with large open spaces – has to be the protection of endangered species, coupled with sustainable breeding programmes and projects to reintroduce them to the wild. The ultimate aim should, wherever possible, be the return of the captive and captive-bred creatures with whom mankind is privileged to share the planet."


"There is certainly a role for such animal collections for at least the next two or three decades. But it can no longer be for the simple collection and display of animals."

This is what Good Zoos are about. The only point that I would disagree with in tha above is "preferably, in wildlife parks with large open spaces" because large open spaces are not necessarily best and I would ask all to remember that wildlife parks ARE zoos. So are Safari Parks, Conservation Centres and whatever name you like to give them.  We cannot create the wild in captivity.

Damien Aspinall really needs to come onto the side of the Good and stop throwing stones at them. Good Zoos need to cooperate to conserve.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.


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Unhappy feet: Bungling shopping centre attacked by animal rights group for putting live South American penguins in an ice rink
 •Humboldt penguins live on rocky islands on the warm Pacific waters of Peru and Chile - not in the Antarctic
•PETA slammed the event as 'tragic'
Looking bewildered, five penguins scuttle unsteadily across an ice rink in front of more than 150 screaming children.
The five were released to perform for the crowds as part of the launch of a pre-Christmas 'Ice Festival' at a shopping centre.
But last night the event's organisers were condemned after it emerged they are actually Humboldt penguins –  tropical birds which will never have seen ice before.
Onlookers said the birds, which usually nest on the warm Pacific coasts of Peru and Chile, spent much of the ten-minute show falling over.

Professor Rory Wilson, of Swansea University, who has studied penguins for 32 years, said:  'Humboldts are a tropical penguin used to a very warm climate in Chile and they will never, ever come across ice in their natural environment. If they looked cold then they probably were.'
A spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said of the event at Liverpool's ONE shopping complex three weeks ago: 'This can only have left them petrified and disoriented.'

TV cameras rolled as a keeper tried to coax the birds with fish as they walked around the arena.

PETA, which has celebrity supporters including Mickey Rourke, Jessica Jane Clement and Pamela Anderson, slammed the

The penguins that have stayed faithful for 16 years
A pair of Magellanic penguins have remained faithful to each other for 16 years, according to researchers who have been monitoring the birds and have shown they can travel up to 10,000 miles a year in their search for food and love.
It is a story of epic journeys and enduring love.
A pair of Magellanic penguins has been revealed as among the most faithful of couples in the animal kingdom.
Their relationship has spanned 16 years - almost their entire breeding life - despite spending long periods apart and each of them taking solo trips totalling 200,000 miles.
Yet each year they have returned to the same nest, and each other, to produce a new brood of chicks.
Now they have grown old together - the penguin’s natural lifespan means they normally die around 20 years after they start breeding.
Biologists have expressed surprise at the endurance of the couple’s relationship as most pairings are cut short by either the death of one of the penguins during their long sea journeys or a failure to successfully produce chicks, which are often killed by predators or hunger.
Research has revealed a tragic twist to Magellanic penguin relationships - if a couple ever fails to successfully hatch their chicks then they will “divorce”, leaving each other to find new partners.
The longest relationships between penguins previously seen by researchers have been between five and ten years before tragedy strikes and they fail to breed successfully.
The tale, which would rival any romantic novel, has emerged as part of a 30-year study of Magellanic

Monkey dies from blow to head after zoo break-in
A break-in at Zoo Boise early Saturday left a Patas monkey dead from blunt force trauma to the head and neck and police were analyzing blood found at the scene to determine if it came from the monkey or one of two human intruders.

Two males wearing dark clothing were spotted by a security guard at 4:30 a.m. outside the fence near the primate exhibit, police said. Both fled, one of them heading into the interior of the zoo. Boise police used a thermal imager in searching the 11-acre zoo grounds but didn't find the person.

"I've been here for 15 years and we haven't had anything like this happen," Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns said. "It's unfortunate that we have to let kids know that something like this happens. Monkeys are always among the most favorite animals

Zoos review enclosures after death of Pa. toddler
Visitors at the Los Angeles Zoo can't encounter an African painted dog without a serious climb.
A moat and at least two rings of fences separate the public there from the endangered carnivores, the same species that killed a Whitehall toddler on Nov. 4 at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
At the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, two of three viewing areas for painted dogs keep visitors behind glass. The third — an open overlook area — features an outer wall, a roughly 3-foot gap and an inner cantilevered wall to secure the wildlife.
"They can be aggressive just like lions, tigers and bears can be," said Rick Dietz, vice president and general curator at the Audubon Zoo. "They do have a tendency to have a pack mentality when they're together" and feeding.
Zookeepers who oversee some of the 63 painted dogs at 37 zoos nationwide would not criticize the Pittsburgh Zoo's exhibit, where Maddox Derkosh, 2, tumbled from the railing of an observation deck and into the enclosure. Experts said the zoo, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, looked generally well designed and prepared.
Yet, zoo management experts say, Maddox's death might bring changes at zoos, which have moved to shed traditional cages and adopt more-natural, open-space designs, some of which bring visitors face-to-face with wild animals.
"It will — it does — affect every single zoo. ... It puts everybody on the alert," said Richard J. Snider, a zoology professor at Michigan State University. "I'm sure there are already sketches being made here and there to prevent this."
At least one person who witnessed the death says the zoo should have made the exhibit safer. District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said his investigation will include a review of safety

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:
Climate change. Climate change. Climate change. Before the oceans rise up against us and the storms blow us away, wildlife and plant life will be affected. November’s links at (NEWS/Botanical News) reveal some sad changes to our world:
·       Giant Pandas have been hard pressed by their dependence on bamboo for a very long time: human encroachment on habitat, earthquakes, over-harvesting. Now add global warming. Specialization comes at a cost. No bamboo=no pandas.
·       Climate change is redesigning trees, well, at least those that can adapt fast enough. Technically speaking, some mesophytes are becoming xerophytes. What does that mean? Google it or check out the link!
·       As climate change pushes animals into regions where they formerly did not visit or tarry, the landscape is being changed. Animals are forced to destroy their resources as we destroy ours. What a legacy.
·       Trees that depend on wind for seed dispersal will lose out due to climate change. Wind velocities will diminish so the trees will not out-fly the changes to their ecosystem.
·       OK, we need a break, here’s one: Play this Plant Survival Game to see whether you can succeed at what the simplest bean does every day (disclosure: I died young).

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors! Follow on Twitter:  – a new story every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.


A ZOO has shelved a £1,000-an-hour “panda keeper” experience after damning criticisms from animal rights activists. Edinburgh Zoo launched the venture in a blaze of publicity this year, offering groups of four people the chance to spend 60 minutes “behind the scenes” with the endangered animals.

Campaigners called it a money-spinning enterprise disguised as a conservation project.
The zoo, which says only “one or two ­people” bought the experience since its August launch, has suspended it, to the relief of animal charity OneKind, which questioned how the zoo would protect Tian Tian and Yang Guang from physical and psychological pressure.
Its policy director Libby Anderson said yesterday: “If people are concerned with conservation, ­perhaps they should donate money to charity and not play zookeeper for the day, use the zoo for their corporate events or hold their weddings there.
“The zoo let it be known that it was going to be very expensive to keep the pandas and they have had to earn their keep… but the pandas shouldn’t be used as diplomatic gifts, commercial money or for entertainment.”
Tian Tian and Yang Guang, or Sweetie and Sunshine, sleep for 14 hours a day but that has not deterred more than 500,000 visitors. It is hoped the pair wil

DNA tests show Lonesome George may not have been last of his species
When the giant tortoise Lonesome George died this summer, conservationists from around the world mourned the extinction his species. However, a genetic analysis by Yale University researchers of tortoises living in a remote area of a Galapagos Island suggests individuals of the same tortoise species may still be alive—perhaps ancestors of tortoises thrown overboard by 19th century sailors.
The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation. On the remote northern tip of Isabella Island, the Yale team collected DNA from more than 1,600 giant tortoises and discovered that 17 were ancestors of the species Chelonoidis abingdoni, native to Pinta Island of which Lonesome George was the last known survivor. The 17 tortoises are hybrids, but evidence suggested a few might be the offspring of a purebred C. abingdoni parent. Five of these tortoises are juveniles, which suggested to researchers that purebred individuals of the species may still live on the rocky cliffs of Isabella in an area called Volcano Wolf. "Our goal is to go back this spring to look for surviving individuals of this species and to collect hybrids," said Adalgisa "Gisella" Caccone, senior research scientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and senior author on the study. "We hope that with a selective breeding program, we can reintroduce this tortoise species to its native home." Volcano Wolf where DNA samples were collected is 37 miles away from Pinta Island. Scientists do not believe ocean currents could have carried giant tortoises to Isabella Island. They note that Volcano Wolf is next to Banks Bay, where in the 19th century sailors of naval and whaling vessels in November 2012
~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~
Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!
Coast Panorama is an aviary presenting the bird habitat in the tidelands of Northern Germany. The visitors can enjoy almost barrier-free viewing and learn about the Wadden Sea coast using the inviting interpretive materials.
Here is the German original text:
We would like to thank Sandra Reichler and Sabrina Linn for presenting the Coast Panorama at Zoo Heidelberg to the ZooLex audience. The English translation was done by Hannah Gängler, our intern in summer 2012.
This October, the thatched roof of the replicated Frisian house of the Coast Panorama at Heidelberg Zoo was renewed. The traditional handcraft of thatching roofs has become rare and is a lot of work. Thatched roofs are typical for Northern Germany. The zoo hired the "Deutschen Reetdachhaus-Baugesellschaft Dabow & Dabow" from Brandenburg for the renovation.
Reeds are fixed to the roof in bundles. Only the leafless stems of the reeds (Phragmites australis) are used because they are strong, elastic, lightweight and durable. A thatched roof from reeds lasts 40 to 45 years when it is regularly cleaned. The use of reeds by humans as roof cover goes back to 4000 B.C.
Thatched roofs are environmentally friendly. The material is CO2 neutral and has excellent thermal insulation values.
Almost a year ago, we presented a publication with recommendations for bird-safe building design:
SHEPPARD, Christine (2011): Bird-Friendly Building Design. American Bird Conservancy. The Plains, VA, USA. (download: 3.6 MB)
Recently, a publication was prepared by the Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach that offers even more concrete and thoroughly tested methods for preventing bird collisions and excellent illustrations. Currently, the publication is only available in German:
SCHMID H., DOPPLER W., HEYNEN D, RÖSSLER M. (2012): Vogelfreundliches Bauen mit Glas und Licht. 2., überarbeitete Auflage. Schweizerische Vogelwarte, Sempach. (download 8.6 MB)
Please contact us at if you could help with translating this important document to English.
We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and

the fifth estate--The Elephant in the Room: Sneak Preview

Marineland owner John Holer trying to acquire another killer whale
Marineland owner John Holer is trying to acquire another killer whale for his tourist park, according to the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Association director Bill Peters told the Star he believes Marineland had a another killer whale lined up to join lone Kiska, but it fell through.

Now “they are following leads and looking for opportunities,” said Peters.

Killer whales shouldn’t be kept alone, according to both CAZA and Ontario rules, and Peters said the issue was discussed during an Oct. 26 inspection of Marineland by the industry association.

CAZA announced in early October it would be conducting “unannounced inspections on a four- to six-week schedule.” This was the first.

The association began its investigation of Marineland, along with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, after a Star series, in which 15 former trainers blamed sporadically poor water quality and short staffing for ill health and death among its animals.

According to CAZA business manager Greg Tarry, who signed off on the Oct. 26 tour, “there were no concerns identified,” other than the lack of an updated water management protocol.

In a first report Oct. 3, CAZA identified water quality issues in three pools, saying it had “an impact on the well-being of the animals in the pools in question.”

The Oct. 3 report ordered Marineland, which pays dues to CAZA, to hire an independent water engineering firm in order to “thoroughly update” its water quality protocols “as soon as reasonably possible.”

On Tuesday, Peters said that Marineland has “sufficient information to make a decision soon.”

On Oct. 26, CAZA inspectors said Marineland’s water logs were “within or very close to acceptable ranges when compared to industry standards.”

The investigation is ongoing, said Peters, stressing: “We still want updated (water) protocols


Askham Bryan College in York plans new wildlife centre
LEMURS, tapirs and the world’s largest rodent could be coming to York as plans take shape for a new wildlife and conservation centre.

The venture is part of a £6 million investment at Askham Bryan College in York and also includes a children’s farm and a new canine centre with a veterinary nursing suite, hydrotherapy, dog grooming and kennels along with a cattery.

The college which has two sites, one in York, the other at Newton Rigg near Penrith, will see £9m invested into new projects with the bulk being spent at the York campus, creating about 45 new jobs for York, both full


Polar bear Sheba dies, age 35, at the Singapore Zoo
Polar bear Sheba died at the Singapore Zoo on Thursday.

A statement from Wildlife Reserves Singapore late Thursday night said the 35-year-old bear had been "under treatment since September for loss of strength in her hind limbs, but her condition deteriorated in past week".

"A close evaluation revealed her prognosis was poor, and the polar bear had to be euthanised on humanitarian grounds," it said, adding that it was extremely saddened by the passing.

Sheba arrived at the Singapore Zoo on April 14, 1978, from Cologne Zoo, Germany, when she was 14 months old. She was the

Zoo visitors react to news of polar bear’s death
Animal lovers and zoo visitors are saddened by the news that Sheba the polar bear at the Singapore Zoo has died, with a handful asking if there would be a statue or a “burial site” at the zoo in remembrance of the bear.

Sheba was 35 and had a 21-year-old son, Inuka.

The Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which oversees the zoo, issued a statement late last night that Sheba’s health took a dive in September after it lost strength in its hind legs. Although it was being treated, its condition worsened last week and a decision was made that it be "euthanised on humanitarian grounds".

“Serene Tham” wrote on the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Facebook page: “So sad. The last time I saw Sheba was some time ago and for the past year, they have been kept away from visitors... Hope Inuka will cope well.”

“Rathika Madavadas” also said she had been “looking forward to seeing Sheba and Inuka in their new River Safari enclosure”.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore has set aside a new 1,400 sqm habitat in the upcoming River Safari for the polar bears, which will be three-and-a-half times the size of its previous one. The river-themed park is to open early next year.

In constructing the Frozen Tundra exhibit for the bears, the polar bear enclosure at the Singapore Zoo has been closed since September 2010.

In 2007, animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) had raised concerns that the bears' enclosure was too small and

Zoos and Euthanasia
The Good Zoo and Euthanasia


Global exposure for Darjeeling zoo officials
The Centre seems to have woken up to the problems plaguing the various zoos across the country. The government of India has invited officials of Durrell Wildlife Park (DWP) in Jersey Island to India to interact with zoo directors and educate them on conservation and breeding of endangered animals in captivity.

This will be the first time that DWP will conduct the 'Durrell wildlife conservation trust endangered species recovery course' outside its premises. The five-day programme starting November 17 will be held at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in Darjeeling.

This will be followed by a zoo directors' meet that will be attended by additional chief secretary of forest Kumar Das and member secretary of CZA B S Bonal.

Talking about the programme, A K Jha, the Darjeeling zoo director, said, "DWP is known for its animal conservation and breeding program and imparting education to zoo professionals. They have never ventured outside. We will be highly benefited by interacting with officials of the renowned park."

The zoo in Jersey has always concentrated on rare and endangered species and houses over 13

"Can You See The Connection?" (The Fruit Bat Song) by Lucas Miller the "singing zoologist"

Zoo animals too face stress
The recent festival season may have been fun and relaxing for visitors to the zoos in the country, but not for many of the animals. If you thought only humans are stressed out, read this. According to animal experts, the constant stream of visitors, loud noise, rousing odours, flash bulbs, some people feeding the wrong food can stress out animals. Karnataka is no exception.

Zoo animals living in limited space are confronted by environmental challenges. What they need is some freedom, said experts.

"In India, we can bring in a lot of professionalism in the working of the zoos, given that a lot of data and technology is available. The will to implement it can cut down on the animals' stress," said Ch Kishan, general manager, People for Animals, Bangalore.

"Kinder and competent handling of animals is called for. It can happen when we have the right people at the right places, and not get in officials on deputation from a different department," said city-based ornithologist MB Krishna.

Experts said that a separate cadre needed to be created to fill in the zoo vacancies. "They must come from a wildlife background," said Suparna Bakshi Ganguly, president and co-founder trusteee

ABWAK are pleased to announce their next workshop

**Aardvark Husbandry and Biology Workshop**

Saturday 12th January

Hosted by Colchester Zoo

Members: £20
Non members: £30

Booking form will be available at shortly

Please email  for further enquiries


10.00-10.30 am - Welcome address, housekeeping and

10.30-11.15 Nutrition – Allula and Michelle
(Mazuri and Colchester Zoo)
§  Introduction to Termant
§  The process of introducing a new diet
§  Comparison analyses of diets
§  Costings
§  Weight differences of youngsters

11.15-11.45 Reproduction – Jen and Jo (Colchester
§  Timeline of events
§  Methodology
§  The design of the birthing burrow
§  Lessons we’ve learned

11.45- 12.15 Sexing – London zoo
§  Problems with DNA sexing
§  Use of hormone analysis
§  Practical session on manual sexing

12.15 -1.00 Enclosure tour – Colchester Zoo staff
§  Details
§  Improvements made
§  Need for a second burrow
§  Discussion on pros and cons of any

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-2.20Mixed Exhibits – Chester Zoo
§  Pros
§  Cons
§  Possible species

2.20-2.40Visitor Experiences – Africa Alive!
§  Methodology
§  Pros
§  Cons

2.40-3.10 Enrichment and Training – London &
Colchester Zoo
§  Feed talks
§  Training methods
§  Enrichment devices used

3.10-4.00Ideas swap and general discussion
& tea/coffee

Embracing the Cheetah, Embracing the World
Twice a year, I leave Cheetah Conservation Fund operations in Namibia and do a lecture and fundraising tour, usually visiting several cities in North America, and stopping in Europe on my way home. These tours are energizing for me, because I have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, all of whom love the cheetah and are committed to helping CCF save it from extinction. All of these "cheetah friends," old and new, have embraced our mission, and I am grateful to have their support.
Appreciation of the cheetah seems to be a universal impulse. People of every nation I have ever visited are fascinated with the cheetah. The cheetah's speed, grace, and the look of fierce nobility in its seemingly endless amber eyes, have captivated humans for thousands of years. Unfortunately, it is because of humans that wild cheetah population has been decimated by 90 percent over the past century. Human-wildlife conflict, habitat destruction, illegal wildlife trafficking and the pet trade have put the cheetah's very survival as a species in jeopardy.
I was heartened, however, by my visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg from October 24 to October 26, because it renewed my faith that the world is indeed motivated to save the cheetah. Members of the European Parliament's Intergroup for Animal Welfare and Conservation (IAWC) -- Catherine Bearder and Andrea Zanoni -- joined us for a dinner among CCF supporters. The following day I delivered a presentation to the members of the IAWC at the European Parliament, discussing many of our efforts to combat human-wildlife conflict issues, including our Livestock

Baboon Adopts a Stray Kitten at Israeli Zoo

Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park to be built into a national 5A scenic spot
The Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden will be relocated to the “South Li Mountain Area” at Xinpo Town in Haikou. It will be built into an international 5A scenic spot with the theme of “Kingdom of Plants and Animals”. The relocation project will have a total investment of no less than RMB3 billion.

The original Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden is the third wildlife park and botanical garden to be built in China following parks in Shenzhen and Shanghai. It has been awarded the titles of “National 4A Tourist Attraction”, “National Popular Science Education Base”, and “National Wildlife Care Center”.

In late July this year, the overall plan for the new Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden was approved by experts. The project covers an area of 5.3 million square meters, with 3.69-million-square-meters of theme park and a 1.61-million-square-meter volcanic spring health resort. 

The new tropical wildlife park and botanical garden will be built into a complex tourist project composed of sightseeing, leisure, experience, scientific research, education and exhibitions. After its construction, tourists will be able to enjoy the “forest bathing trips” with lions

Video - Albino Pinniped

Dining With Leopards
By Tara Pirie

SeaWorld’s Sister Company Fights Whale and Dolphin Captivity
SEA LIFE adamantly opposes the keeping of cetaceans in tanks.
Corporations sometimes make for strange bedfellows. Consider the rich and powerful Blackstone Group, one of the world’s leading private equity firms. In an odd twist of venture-capital fate, New York-based Blackstone now finds itself a global house divided; the parent of two vast entertainment companies scornful of each other’s fundamental business models
One recent Blackstone acquisition, SeaWorld, celebrates, promotes, perpetuates and profits from the confinement and display of dolphins and whales (cetaceans) for public amusement. SeaWorld officials decry and denigrate anyone who criticizes the practice or calls for the early retirement of performing cetaceans to coastal marine sanctuaries.

In direct contrast, another Blackstone holding, Merlin Entertainments Group and its aquarium division, SEA LIFE, is just as adamantly opposed to keeping cetaceans in tanks, aggressively supports the development of retirement sanctuaries for performing animals, and is publicly resisting efforts by SeaWorld and other U.S. venues to import and display 18 wild

Tigress jumps 10-ft zoo wall, injures 3
A tigress escaped from her enclosure by jumping over a ten-ft wall at Itanagar Zoo and injured three persons. However, zoo authorities captured the animal from a nearby jungle later with assistance from police.
 Nang, the tigress, escaped on Wednesday just after getting removed from her night shelter, zoo sources said on Thursday. Immediately, the zoo staff swung into action and started following her. The team, led by range forest officer (RFO) R Flago and a veterinary officer, managed to locate the animal near Bhuka Nullah, where she was hiding inside

Tashkent zoo worker accused of embezzlement
An investigation has been launched against Tashkent Zoo’s 16 employees, including its director, on suspicion of embezzlement of funds allocated for keeping animals. learnt from reliable sources that the investigation in Tashkent’s zoo was opened half a year ago. Since then, zoo director Olim Rasulev has been under arrest.
All people involved in the case are accused of embezzling about 1.5 billion sums (over $555,000 at the black market rate) of state funds.
As a result, the staff members are cast down and the quality of keeping animals has deteriorated while the zoo is not yet ready for the winter.
“The trial will be held soon and no-one knows what will happen to our mangers,” a member of the Tashkent zoo staff who asked to be named Erkin said.
He said the 16 employees were accused of stealing fodder of animals and avoiding taxes on profits gained from illegal photographing with small animals.
At the same time, it is not as simple as that. In Erkin’s opinion, many

Did the world's sexiest zoo get too sexy?
Newsweek magazine once called it "the world's sexiest zoo."

So it might come as a surprise that the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden takes contraception as seriously as it does breeding, as do other U.S. zoos. Animal births may make headlines, but behind the scenes, great effort goes into preventing unwanted pregnancies. The zoo earned that nickname because of its phenomenal success with its breeding program. And it burnished that reputation last month with the much ballyhooed birth of a female giraffe.

"It is a very important part of what we do. It's being responsible," says Terri Roth, the zoo's vice president of conservation and science.

Contraception is one piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle of managing captive animals. Before animals breed, zoos must consider factors such as space constraints -- both now and in the future -- social groupings and the need to sustain healthy, genetically diverse populations.

An hour and a half before the first visitors enter the zoo, Ron Evans is well into his morning routine inside Gorilla World. The zoo's primate team leader sets out small cups, each marked with a gorilla's name. Some gorillas will get fiber; some take Vitamin E because of dry skin.

All six females will get a birth control pill, the same as a human would take.
Evans crushes each pill between two spoons, then sprinkles the powder over yogurt, a treat the gorillas love. He dares not give them uncrushed pills.

"These guys are so smart," he says. "You think they've swallowed it, and they tuck it under their tongue and spit it out when you're not looking."

Evans then visits Samantha, a mother of six, and spoon-feeds her the yogurt. "Good girl," he says.

He works his way down the line of stalls: M'linzi and Chewie, then Anju, Asha and Mara.

Forty-eight gorillas have been born here, but none since 2006. "We're a little bit of a victim of our own success," Evans says.
Cooperation key

Breeding has been on hold to guard against the bloodlines of Cincinnati's gorillas being overrepresented in the North American population. Studies have shown that highly inbred animals are more susceptible to disease, have higher rates of infant mortality and are more likely to have developmental abnormalities.

Years ago, when zoo populations were unmanaged, a flurry of births might be followed by long periods of breeding inactivity. Populations aged and eventually crashed. Then zoos captured more animals from the wild.

But by the 1970s, with the list of endangered species growing rapidly, it became ethically and sometimes legally impossible for zoos to replenish animals that way.

So in 1981, the Species Survival Plan (SSP) was established to manage the breeding of certain species. It is administered by the Silver Spring, Md.-based Association of Zoos and Aquariums, whose membership of 223 accredited institutions includes the Cincinnati Zoo.

Today, "No zoo is an island," says Evans, who sits on the Gorilla SSP management committee. "We all have to cooperate to properly manage species."

That sometimes means moving animals from zoo to zoo to diversify the gene pool. Officials consult a "studbook" -- a breakdown of a population's vital records, including lineage -- before deciding which animals to breed and where.

Often, though, because of genetic considerations or limited space for animals, the recommendation is to not breed.
Many variables come into play

It's possible to simply separate males and females. But zoos are reluctant to split up compatible pairs because for many species, including gorillas, "it's better for the animals to be in a social group," Roth says. "And that's better for (zoos), because we don't have to have separate enclosures" that take up valuable space.

Spaying and castrating have long been used to keep zoo animals from reproducing. But because those methods are permanent, today they're generally not used for endangered species.

That's where contraception comes in.
"It's a challenge," Roth says, "because it's almost always experimental."
The job of assessing the effectiveness of contraceptives falls to the AZA Wildlife Contraception Center at the St. Louis Zoo. "Every time we're treating a new species, we are trying to figure out what's the right dose, how long it is going to be effective and what the reversal rate will be," says Cheryl Asa, the center's director.

The center recommends appropriate contraceptives to zoos. A vaccine, for instance, might be effective among hoofed animals. In Cincinnati, a langur, lar gibbon and siamang (all of which are primates) have received hormonal

Animal rights group puts bounty on elephant killers
Animal rights group PETA offered a $1,000 reward Tuesday for information on the killing of three critically-endangered Sumatran elephants near palm oil plantations in Indonesia.
The carcasses of three female elephants, including a year-old calf, were found rotting at the weekend in the jungle on Sumatra island outside the Tesso Nilo National Park, which is surrounded by palm oil plantations.

Park chief Kupin Simbolon said Monday the elephants had likely been poisoned in revenge after plantation workers’ huts were destroyed in a recent stampede.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered the reward for information ‘leading to the arrest and conviction’ of the killers.

‘These cowardly killers need to be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,’ PETA Asia vice president Jason Baker said in a statement.

‘If poisoned, these elephants endured a slow and agonising death.’

At least 17 elephants have died this year at the park and surrounding districts, mostly from suspected poisoning, Simbolon said, adding that his team was working with police to hunt down the perpetrators in the latest case.

Fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants remain in the wild, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a 50 percent drop in numbers since 1985.

There has been a spate of elephant and orangutan killings this year around forests converted to palm oil plantations in Indonesia, the world’s§ion=international&col=

Nghe An: Tigers raised as pigs
Until we witnessed four adult tigers being raised in a 15sq.m room of a household in Do Thanh Commune, Yen Thanh District, Nghe An province, we believed that the information we had been provided by sources wasn’t true.
The tiger breeder, who is over 30 years old, innocently told us that his family and others in the commune breed tigers as an “economic model”, like raising pigs. And this "economic model" has brought about hundreds of millions dong (tens of thousands of USD) per year for his family.
 At first, there was only one household raising tigers. Then seeing the huge profits from this “economic model,” many families have also bought tigers to raise as domestic animals.
A series of reports by VietNamNet reporters will expose how these

Anna Ryder Richardson’s husband admits safety breaches at couple’s wildlife park
TV STAR Anna Ryder Richardson sobbed into her husband’s chest today after he admitted serious health and safety breaches which put a mother and her young child in hospital.

The celebrity interior designer wept uncontrollably and refused to leave his side after identical charges against her were withdrawn.
Ryder Richardson, 48, was due to stand trial this morning at Swansea Crown Court with husband Colin MacDougall, 46.
Both had previously denied the charges against them and were ready to refute the accusations over the trial’s scheduled three weeks.
The couple jointly run the Manor House Wildlife Park in St Florence, near Tenby, West Wales.
Gruff Davies-Hughes suffered serious head injuries at the attraction when a heavy branch fell on him during strong winds in August 2010.
The three-year-old spent three days fighting for his life in intensive care after being airlifted to hospital.
His mother suffered head injuries

The Sticky Tongue Project!/pages/The-Sticky-Tongue-Project/106558222770506

Mind the gap … in our knowledge: addressing information bias in conservation science,627,EV.html?Pobject=com.othermedia.zsl.model.EventHandle-L-627&action=com.othermedia.webkit.hibernate.versioned.VersionedFormActions.doPublish&actionToken=aesdBLaxk4sc37&dm_i=9GD,11R2D,110QE2,37X7X,1

Zoo Keeper Fired After FOX 2 Report
A St. Louis Zoo supervisor, who told FOX 2 he was poisoned, was fired by the zoo after our report last week.

Former grounds manager, John Huffstutler confirmed he was one of three employees who believed someone poisoned their drinks.  The zoo said tests on his coffee cup showed ‘a minute amount of motor oil.’  Huffstutler said his bosses didn’t like seeing him on the news and fired him because of it.  But he’s not mad at Fox 2 because he said he told the truth.

Now he’s given investigator Chris Hayes audio recordings of what he says are zoo supervisors pushing a cover up.  Meanwhile Huffstutler adds that current zoo employees have approached him saying they didn’t know about reported poisonings until our news report.  Huffstutler said those employees told him they may have information… “that concerns the soda can tampering.  That they said they would have released at the time had they known it even happened.  I feel what they`ve told me is very important information but they absolutely refuse to discuss it with HR because

Executive Committee votes to let zoo staff decide where elephants should go
The Executive Committee has voted to have Toronto Zoo staff decide where their three remaining elephants should be relocated.

They said that elephants should be moved as soon as possible.

The meeting was held late Monday evening after the committee spent most of the day hearing from the public on the possibility of bringing a casino to Toronto. 
The committee also requested that the CEO of the Zoo report directly to Council setting out the results of the due diligence review conducted by the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) facility.

They also asked the CEO attend City Council meetings to answer questions on that review.

City council voted last fall to send the remaining elephants, Iringa, Toka and Thika, to California's PAWS sanctuary after animal rights groups raised concerns about their welfare.

Four elephants died at Toronto Zoo between 2006 and 2009, according to former 'Price Is Right' host and animal activist Bob Barker, who has offered to pick up the hefty $880,000 price tag to fly the remaining ones to the United States.

In late September, Toronto Zoo CEO John Tracogna told The Canadian Press that the delays were attributed to problems with permits, flight arrangements,

Toronto ground zero for battle over future of elephants in zoos
For the past year and a half, a fierce battle has raged over whether three African elephants should stay in their decades-old home at the Toronto Zoo.

But it's a battle that some experts say is now at the centre of a larger North American debate about the future of elephants in zoos.
Since the facility opened in 1974, the Toronto Zoo has always had elephants.

Deciding to stop housing the showstopping animals that bring so many visitors through its front gates is no easy decision —and one that's put it at the centre of a larger North American debate about the future of elephants in zoos.

In an interview with CBC's the fifth estate, internationally renowned zoo director and architect David Hancocks thinks that zoos are "on the cusp of a major paradigm shift."

While people have wondered for years whether a zoo can exist without the presence of an elephant, Hancocks suggests a different future. "I suspect as soon as 10 years time we'll probably hear people say, 'How can you call yourself a zoo

I Love Lucy

Record sentence for Thai rhino horn trafficker
South African authorities announced a record 40-year sentence for a Thai national accused of masterminding the slaughter of rhinos for their horns to smuggle to Asia for the black market trade
Chumlong Lemthongthai pleaded guilty to 59 offences against the South African Customs and Excise Act and environmental legislation in relation to the killing of around 26 rhinos in bogus trophy hunts.

Five other co accused were released - the charges against them dropped after Chumlong claimed that he alone knew the rhino horns were being exported for profit.

Chumlong paid Thai commercial sex workers to pose as hunters and obtain export certificates for horns, which were in fact taken from rhinos killed by professional hunters.

The prosecution was brought by the South African Revenue Service and South African Police Service, and has been supported by a parallel enquiry by Thai authorities.
FREELAND (an international organisation dedicated to tackling wildlife trafficking and human slavery) investigators have been

Your letters: Nik-Nik, as old as Jakarta zoo
Nik-Nik is the name of the little cute brown bear cub that arrived at the Cikini Zoo, Jakarta, in 1963. Along with Panjang the crocodile and Miss Ulla von Mengden, they seem to be the only living remnants of the old Jakarta Zoo, before its relocation in 1964 to its present location in Ragunan, South Jakarta.
Conny a 63-year-old chimpanzee, which also came from Cikini, died at the Schmutzer Primate Center in 2008 as the world’s oldest chimpanzee. Nik-Nik has just reached the ripe old age of almost 50 years, making her the oldest living bear in known history.
How the tropics, especially the polluted city of Jakarta, could become the place to reach this spectacular age for a European Brown Bear is a mystery! Bears can live longer in captivity than in the wild but 50 years is by far the oldest known instance for any kind of bear. The oldest Grizzly bear was 32 years old and there was a polar bear that reached 42 and one brown bear that reached the ripe old age of 47 — all in captivity. But Nik-Nik has outlived them all!
Ulla von Mengden, who moved Nik-Nik from Cikini to Ragunan Zoo tells the following story:
“When Nik-Nik arrived with me in Ragunan she was still a cub, perhaps one-year-old. I remember how she sat on my lap and I would take her for walks on a chain through the zoo that was still partly under construction. Then one day in 1964, after having taken Nik-Nik on one of our walks I got a panic call — Nik-Nik had escaped and was walking free on the main zoo road, scaring visitors! So I jumped up and walked toward Nik-Nik to bring her to her cage, but then to my sudden surprise at two meters’ distance, the bear rose up to a huge height growling at me. I quickly stepped back realizing this was NOT Nik-Nik!! I should have checked first, of course, Nik-Nik being in her cage where she belonged.”
By the end of 2012 Nik-Nik will be 49-years-old and Ragunan is preparing for her 50th birthday in 2013. She still has a thick fur and cute fuzzy ears.
Many of her molars are gone but the imposing canines in the front of her long snout still manage to impress visitors. Her claws are very long and she cannot walk that smoothly or that far anymore but she will still strike her paws at any stranger coming too close to her bars! Nik-Nik still has a very good appetite and when Ulla von Mengden arrives twice

'Zoo will survive cash crisis'
A POPULAR visitor attraction has reassured its supporters that the future of the site is not in jeopardy.
Blackbrook Zoological Park admitted some of its staff who should have been paid on September 30 were still waiting for their money.
But zoo general manager Debbie Hughes blamed the delay on a hold-up with Gift Aid cash the charity is due to receive 'imminently'.
And she added that a move to winter opening hours for the first time in the zoo's history was a 'business decision' designed to save money.
She said: "It is true some staff have not been paid since September 30.
"We are waiting for a Gift Aid claim to come through. That claim is substantial and is what we rely on to see us through the winter.
"We are also waiting for some

How mirrors are helping Cromer zoo flamingos to breed
The gates have closed to the public at Cromer zoo, but a winter season of hard work lies ahead as the attraction weather-proofs its exotic stars, and helps them to breed - with some of it literally done by mirrors.
Its flamingos are happier and more likely to produce eggs if they are in larger groups - so staff have added mirrors to the pen to fool them into thinking the flock is bigger than it actually is.
On site manager Imogen Burgoyne said the birds were building nests for the first time since the introduction of large mirrors in to their pen.
Three eggs have been laid so far, which failed to hatch, but Miss Burgoyne said she was hopeful there would be chicks in the warmer months because the adults were pairing up and displaying courtship behaviour.
During the depths of winter

Gaza finally captures "Rock" the fugitive croc
A crocodile on the run from a Gaza zoo for the past 18 months has finally been captured, police said on Tuesday.
The 1.8 meter (6 foot)-long reptile was spotted several weeks ago in sewage pools in the northern Gaza Strip, and villagers complained he had been eating their livestock. Police called in fishermen, who netted the crocodile on Monday.
"He's a beautiful troublemaker," police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said. "We really sweated to take him alive."
The fugitive was returned to the zoo and reunited with four other crocodiles. Owners of the

Zoos and wildlife parks are no way to treat an animal
 The idea that a zoo is the sole or even best repository for learning is risible
Over the past century, thousands of species have disappeared from our planet, and many more are on the critically endangered list. Yet even as we wantonly destroy nature’s great habitats, and hunt species to extinction, we console ourselves with the thought that we are preserving many species in zoos and wildlife parks.

As the owner and operator of two such parks – Howletts and Port Lympne in Kent – you would expect the Aspinall Foundation, founded by my late father John, to argue that it is sometimes right to keep animals in captivity. Although we do agree that there are times when the interests of the species can be best served by animals being kept in captivity, we believe that it is scandalous that so many zoos around the world remain packed with often miserable animals, kept in unnatural conditions where they remain incapable of breeding, despite frequently being paired biblically, two by two.

In these zoos, lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos and other wonderful creatures exist in these conditions largely, if not solely, for humans to gawp at, on the pretext that they and their children are being educated about the wonders of the natural world. This view may have been partially justified up to the advent of the digital age, and the spread of information via television. Today, the idea that zoos provide the sole – or even the best – repository of learning is risible.

At the Aspinall Foundation, we believe that mankind owes it to nature to re-evaluate the role of zoological institutions in the 21st century and to change the way we think about animals in captivity. The ultimate aim should be to render zoos and wildlife parks obsolete – including our own.

The continuing presence of animals in captivity is, we believe, a sign of mankind’s failure. Of course, we are not anarchists or Luddites. There is certainly a role for such animal collections for at least the next two or three decades. But it can no longer be for the simple collection and display of animals.

Rather, the beating heart of any such institution, anywhere in the world, must be true conservation. This means that the rationale for maintaining collections of wild animals – always, preferably, in wildlife parks with large open spaces – has to be the protection of endangered species, coupled with sustainable breeding programmes and projects to reintroduce them to the wild. The ultimate aim should, wherever possible, be the return of the captive and captive-bred creatures with whom mankind is privileged to share the planet.

The Aspinall Foundation has worked tirelessly to become a world leader in the captive breeding of endangered species. Our animal parks have seen the births of 135 gorillas, 33 black rhinos, 123 clouded leopards, 33 Javan gibbons, 104 Javan langurs and 20 African

Cairns zoo owner has plan for animals
ALL of the exotic animals, including a pride of 24 lions, at a private zoo in Cairns up for auction will be given new homes.
The owner of the Shambala Animal Kingdom says if a new owner wishes to maintain the site as a zoo provisions will be made for some animals to be kept.
But Elaine Harrison says she expects all the animals will be sent to new homes, most likely an international conservation and breeding program, and the business will be sold as a vacant lot at the December 15 auction.
Ms Harrison bought the business, formerly the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve, earlier this year but cites family and health reasons behind her decision to sell.
She said it was unlikely the site, which has struggled to remain viable since opening as the Mareeba Wild Animal Park in 2004, would continue to operate

Central Zoo Authority issues ultimatum to Maharajbagh Zoo
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) that monitors the functioning of zoos in the country, on Tuesday, has issued an ultimate to Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, which manages Maharajbagh Zoo, asking it to improve the condition of the zoo failing which its recognition will be suspended midway.
 Last year, CZA had extended the recognition of the zoo till March 2014 after PDKV promised to improve its condition. The warning was issued by the member-secretary of CZA, BS Bonal, who made a surprise visit to the zoo on Tuesday afternoon. He also visited Gorewada.
He also cautioned the authorities not to acquire anymore animals as the zoo doesn't have the required infrastructure. The chief wildlife warden has been planning to shift Palasgaon tiger kept at Seminary Hills to the zoo. On the contrary, Bonal wants to shift one of the three tigresses to Chhatbir zoo in Punjab from Maharajbagh. "Don't repeat the past mistake of challenging the move," said Bonal.
 "I'm not at all happy. There is not even 1% improvement in the condition of the cages and also the landscape. All the enclosures are dilapidated and needs to be replaced. The zoo should be run like a zoo and if PDKV is not doing it appropriately even after being an agriculture university, it should give up," Bonal's message was loud and clear while talking to TOI.
 Bonal was annoyed with the zoo controller PG Ingole and officer in charge Dr SS Bawaskar. He even refused to have a cup of teathat was offered by the duo. Ingole arrived after the inspection was over.
 Bonal was in the city to attend a workshop on wild buffalo organized by the forest department. Bonal's maiden inspection went on for one hour from 3pm to 4pm. He expressed his deep displeasure over the condition of the cages and the way animals were being fed, specially the herbivores.
 "Herbivores' fodder is being placed on the very ground where they defecate and urinate. It is an open invitation to diseases," Bonal told Dr Bawaskar. He also asked the officials to replace the enclosure for jackals.
 Staff without uniforms and five enclosures without signages irked Boanl further. He found the water pot filthy with remains of food. The water

Latest news from Noah's Ark zoo farm near Clevedon
Building began on a 20 acre elephant habitat at Noah's Ark zoo farm near Clevedon this autumn.
The focus is on long term environmental sustainability in line with the zoo farm's award-winning green credentials.
The North Somerset zoo was recognised with the national silver award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme in 2011 and has designed Elephant Eden to rely almost completely on renewable energy to supply its requirements.
The 80,000 m² complex for Asian elephants is being built as an extension to the zoo farm with permission within its Green Belt site and will be finished to appear visually unobtrusive, while being secure enough to deal with a growing herd of elephants.
Construction work began early in September this year and is expected to finish next spring, before officially opening later in the year.
A new purpose-built 1100 m² elephant house will be green-clad and dug half-way into the ground to be in keeping with the sustainable vision for the new habitat and includes solar roof panels to provide renewable electricity for the complex.
Solar energy will be used to power automated feeding hoists for the elephants, giving them enriched food day and night encouraging natural feeding behaviours.
An integrated CCTV system and electric gates within the building will also link to the solar system.
To keep the elephants warm in their new home, biomass heaters will burn and recycle waste chippings to supply heat for a radiator system within the indoor pens and sand yards.

Rhino butchers caught on film at North West game farm
A disturbing bloody video has called into question the decision to drop charges against an alleged rhino poaching syndicate.
Disturbing video footage of a bloody rhino hunt on a North West game farm raises questions about the National Prosecuting Authority's controversial decision this week to withdraw criminal charges against game farmer Marnus Steyl and a Thai national, Punpitak Chunchom.
Filmed in January last year, the footage – a copy of which has been obtained by the Mail & Guardian – forms part of a devastating digital trail of evidence that leads from South Africa to Southeast Asia. It shows Steyl, accompanied by a professional hunter, Harry Claassens, repeatedly shooting a rhino in what appears to have been an illegal "pseudo hunt", carried out at the behest of an international wildlife-trafficking syndicate.

This week, a key "lieutenant" in the so-called Xaysavang syndicate, Chumlong Lemtongthai, pleaded guilty in the Kempton Park Regional Court to 52 of the 79 charges he was facing, including numerous counts of fraud, customs and excise violations, and transgressions of environmental and organised crime legislation. He was expected to be sentenced on Friday. Lemtongthai is the most senior figure in a rhino horn-smuggling ring ever convicted in South Africa.

Charges against Steyl, Chunchom, alleged syndicate middleman Tool Sriton and two of Steyl's farm labourers, Patruis Matthuys and Obene Kobea, were abruptly withdrawn by prosecutor Allen Simpson on Monday. No explanation for the decision

Gorilla Polo recovers from gastritis
The Mysore Zoo's efforts in maintaining the health of the nation's only gorilla in captivity have paid off as Polo, who had severe gastritis, has recovered now.
 The 39-year-old Polo was diagnosed with the stomach disorder some three weeks back. The zoo authorities were anxious about his health. He has now fully recovered, Zoo executive director BP Ravi

A smelly date with penguins but she's in her element
While most Singaporeans get to watch penguins only in animal shows on TV and in movies like March Of The Penguins, field assistant Michelle Goh has the chance to do far more - she will be "settling in" among the birds for four months.

The 26-year-old, who left Singapore last Monday, will be based on Livingston Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, as she collects data on native gentoo and chinstrap penguins.

She has been hired by an American scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, who is conducting Antarctic marine research for conservation purposes.

For four months, Ms Goh will work with six American scientists and field assistants to keep tabs on penguins that have been tagged with a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device. The researchers will compile a variety of information about the birds, such as how much they weigh and when they lay their eggs.

This will be the first time that Ms Goh, who has a master's in animal conservation from Imperial College in London, will be working with penguins.

Though they look lovable on screen, she knows conducting research on them is another matter.

"Penguins are not easy to handle. They

Purr...fect breeding grounds
THE Al Areen Wildlife Park received two Asian cheetahs from the National Wildlife Research Centre in Taif, Saudi Arabia, in September, as well as a three-year-old female Malayan Sun bear, named Honey, who can be found playfully breaking everything in sight.

The veterinarians at the wildlife reserve in Sakhir, which covers a total area of 8sq km, are hoping that the unnamed cheetahs, one female and one male, both over one-year-old, will be able to assist the endangered species through its breeding programme.

Both the cheetahs and the bear are settling into the Wild Animals Complex in the park, where visitors can view the animals through glass enclosures.

Egyptian veterinarian Dr Mohammed Ali Abdul Rahim Saad, 28, said: “Here at Al Areen Wildlife Park we are delighted to be involved in the global efforts to help endangered species.

“This is also a great opportunity for people to see new animals, especially ones that aren’t typically found in Bahrain. They read about them and watch them on TV and now they have the opportunity to see them in real life. It is all very fascinating.

“The Asian cheetahs are facing extinction in the wild because of the development of their natural habitat. We have a male and a female at the moment and we hope to breed them, but they have only been with us since the end of Ramadan so it’s still early days. They are friendly

Zoos review enclosures after death of Pa. toddler
Officials aim to blend animal welfare, safety and up-close experiences for visitors.
Visitors at the Los Angeles Zoo can't encounter an African painted dog without a serious climb.
A moat and at least two rings of fences separate the public there from the endangered carnivores, the same species that killed a Whitehall, Allegheny County, toddler Nov. 4 at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
At the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, two of three viewing areas for painted dogs keep visitors behind glass. The third — an open overlook area — features an outer wall, a roughly 3-foot gap and an inner cantilevered wall to secure the wildlife.
"They can be aggressive just like lions, tigers and bears can be," said Rick Dietz, vice president and general curator at the Audubon Zoo. "They do have a tendency to have a pack mentality when they're together" and feeding.
Zookeepers who oversee some of the 63 painted dogs at 37 zoos nationwide would not criticize the Pittsburgh Zoo's exhibit, where Maddox Derkosh, 2, tumbled from the railing of an observation deck and into the enclosure. Experts said the zoo, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, looks generally well designed and prepared.
Yet, zoo management experts say, Maddox's death might bring changes at zoos, which have moved to shed traditional cages and adopt more-natural, open-space designs, some of which bring visitors face-to-face with wild animals.
"It will — it does — affect every single zoo. … It puts everybody on alert," said Richard J. Snider, a zoology professor at Michigan State University. "I'm sure there are already sketches being made here and there to prevent this."
At least one person who witnessed the death says the zoo should have made the exhibit safer. District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said his investigation will include a review of safety procedures at the Highland Park zoo.
"One thing is for sure, [the safety] situation has to change," he said.
Zoo officials referred questions about exhibit design to the AZA.
"This type of exhibit is fairly common," association spokesman Steve Feldman said. He said the setup passed muster during accreditation reviews.
The AZA accreditation commission will comb through

Vietnam may evict bears from 'protected' park land
Bears, some of them blinded or maimed, play behind tall green fences like children at school recess. Rescued from Asia's bear bile trade, they were brought to live in this lush national park, but now they may need saving once more.
The future of the bears' sanctuary has been in doubt since July, when a vice defense minister ordered the nonprofit group operating the $2 million center not to expand further and to find another location. U.S. politicians and officials in other countries are among those urging the military to back off.
The defense official wrote, without elaborating, that the Chat Dau Valley is of strategic military interest, but environmentalists allege that vested interests have urged an eviction. They point to documents showing that the daughter of the park's director is involved in a proposed ecotourism venture that wants to lease park land.
Conservation groups say the dispute in Tam Dao National Park is emblematic of conflicts brewing across Vietnam's protected areas. When developers want the land, they say, environmental safeguards disappear.
Vietnamese laws adhere to international environmental standards, but in practice are "minor considerations" in land-use and infrastructure-planning decisions, the World Bank said in a report last year.
Vietnam is among the most biologically diverse countries on earth, comprising less than 1 percent of the world's land but about 10 percent of its species. But the report noted that its protected areas are suffering from deforestation and habitat loss.
"It doesn't matter if the forests are protected by law or not," said Trinh Le Nguyen, executive director of People and Nature Reconciliation, one of Vietnam's few locally based conservation groups. If officials and community groups are not vocal enough, "then the private sector will try (to get) wealthier and wealthier."
Conservationists cite the example of northern Ba Be National Park, where pollution from ore mining is said to threaten a freshwater lake that has received accolades from an international environmental convention. Scientists and hundreds of residents have protested that the pollution is causing the lake's water quality to deteriorate, state media reported last year. A local Communist Party official also has called for a probe into what the state-run Vietnam News Agency calls "rampant deforestation" by loggers inside the park.
Elsewhere, a proposal to develop two hydropower plants in Cat Tien National Park in the south has triggered opposition because the dams would inundate forests.
"It took generations to establish and maintain our national parks," said former park director Tran Van Thanh, who is calling for the proposal to be scrapped. "It would be a waste if we have to surrender parts of our forests for economic development."
Vietnam first established protected lands in the 1960s, and the network has grown to include 30 national parks and scores of other protected areas spanning forests and wetlands. But experts say local development agendas often trump larger conservation goals as officials sell off protected territory for mines, hydropower dams and infrastructure or real estate projects.
Tensions between conservation and development have only increased

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